The Supreme Court on Friday refused the government’s plea to stay cases filed against demonetisation in High Courts and lower courts across the country, saying “how can we shut our doors to people when there is a problem of such magnitude, and warned if the situation does not improved there are chances of riots in the country”.
“It indicates the magnitude of the problem is serious. People are going to the High Courts for relief. This is a serious issue. Let them go,” said a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Anil R. Dave as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi urged the apex court to stay all such proceeding in High Courts and subordinate courts.
The court, which came down hard on the Modi government, refused to put on hold petitions pending in various high courts challenging the Centre’s move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes.
“You have scrapped 500 and 1,000, but what happened to the 100 rupee note?” the Chief Justice asked the government, which replied that ATMs needed to be recalibrated because they have a single drawer for Rs. 100 notes.
The Bench it can consider the plea only to the extent of transferring the cases to Delhi.
“This is very serious. This is will require great consideration. People have become frantic, people are affected… There may be riots,” the Bench, also comprising Justice Anil R. Dave, voiced its apprehensions to Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi.
Adjourning the matter for November 25, the court asked the Attorney General to move transfer petitions, which the court will consider.
The Centre admitted that it was facing problem in moving cash to banks, ATMs and post offices. Multiply petitions reflected the scale of the problem, the court said, adding it might move petitions pending various high courts to the one in Delhi.
However, in view of problems faced by the common man, the Centre made several changes in the cash exchange and withdrawal rules. The Centre, however, ruled out any rollback in the demonetisation move.